The Latest on the Freelancer Payment Protection Act (and a Bit of Civics 101)

Jun 24, 2011

This week, we came many steps closer to passing the Freelancer Payment Protection Act (A6698/S4129) in New York State. On Monday, June 20, the last scheduled day of the New York State legislative session, some Freelancers Union staff members took a last-minute road trip to Albany to do one final push to get the bill passed.  We met with some of our bill sponsors and watched the Assembly debate the bill. The bill had already passed through four Assembly committees (Labor, Codes, Ways and Means, and Rules) earlier this spring before making its way to the Assembly floor on Monday. Once the bill reached the floor, Assemblyman Wright, Chair of the Labor Committee and bill co-sponsor, fielded questions from other representatives. We sat glued to our seats while hearing them debate the bill for over an hour. At approximately 7pm, when it came time for Assembly Members to vote, we could see the “Yes” votes light up in green and the “No” votes light up in red on the walls of the Capitol beside each Assembly Member’s name. The final vote was 84 in support and 58 against. Success! We were thrilled. Unfortunately, the New York State Senate bill has not moved beyond the Labor Committee this legislative session. But considering this is a first-of-its-kind legislation, where the Department of Labor would protect independent contractors from nonpayment the same way it protects traditional employees, we were really pleased with how far we were able to get. And, after hearing the Assembly arguments against the bill, we're even better-positioned to tackle the Senate to make sure they get behind the bill. The Freelancer Payment Protection Act has been a long way in the making, with lots of member involvement pushing it forward. This spring, Freelancers Union members attended in-district meetings with legislators throughout New York City and surrounding counties, bused up to Albany for a lobby day, emailed and phoned their state representatives to support the bill, and contributed to the Freelancers Union Political Action Committee. Thanks so much to all of you who have been involved! While we’ve made great strides on moving the bill forward this legislative session, there’s more that lies ahead of us. This summer and fall, we’ll be laying the groundwork to get the New York State Senate behind the legislation, and we’re counting on your participation to ensure future success. If you want to hear more about the bill's progress and next steps, join us for our July 19 Monthly Member Meeting.  Can't make it to the meeting? Sign up for our unpaid wages campaign to stay in the loop. (photo of Freelancers Union staff with Assemblyman Wright)